Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,
In a recent newsletter, I explained why the Kolbe Center has decided to carry the Douay Rheims Bible (DRB) in our web store, and why the DRB is superior to all other English translations of the Bible. A great Scripture scholar and friend, Dr. Benno Zuiddam,
subsequently posted an article on his website exposing the shocking truth that the New Vulgate translation of the Bible on the Vatican website is actually not a new or revised "Vulgate" but an entirely new translation. This underscores the importance of the Douay Rheims Bible for Catholics who want to hold fast to the translation that the Magisterium of the Church has declared to be the "authentic" version of the Sacred Scriptures. You can read Dr. Zuiddam's important article at this link.
In this newsletter, I would like to give another example to illustrate why the DR Bible is not just a quaint rendering of Sacred Scripture for souls who suffer from nostalgia. Its faithful rendering of St. Jerome's doctrinally pure translation makes it a light in the miasma of modernist misinterpretations of Scripture that corrupt the traditional understanding of God's Word that was handed down from the Apostles and Church Fathers. The example I would like to examine is the DR's rendering of a verse that has been used to undermine the faith of millions of Catholics in the literal historical truth of Genesis 1-2 and to support the modernist myth of the so-called "two creation accounts," Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.
The translations of Genesis 2:19 used by most English-speaking Catholics in liturgical readings and in Bible studies give the distinct impression that God created Adam and then created animals whereas Genesis 1 relates that God created the animals before He created Adam on the sixth day of creation.
Revised Standard Version:
So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.
American Standard Version
And out of the ground Jehovah God formed every beast of the field, and every bird of the heavens; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them: and whatsoever the man called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
New American Standard Bible
Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
It is hardly surprising that most Catholics, including most seminarians, are given this verse as a "proof" that the "second creation account" in Genesis 2 contradicts the "first creation account" in Genesis 1. More often than not, this claim is made in the context of the larger claim that Moses did not write or redact the first five books of the Bible, which (students are told) were cobbled together by multiple authors and editors a thousand years after the time of Moses.
Those who hold fast to the Vulgate of St. Jerome are spared all of this. The Vulgate tells us:
19 formatis igitur Dominus Deus de humo cunctis animantibus terrae et universis volatilibus caeli adduxit ea ad Adam ut videret quid vocaret ea omne enim quod vocavit Adam animae viventis ipsum est nomen eius
And the Douai Rheims faithfully renders this into English as follows:
 And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature the same is its name.
The key to resolving this apparent contradiction between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 is to understand that Hebrew verbs do not have the tenses that exist in Latin, Greek, and English. For example, the same Hebrew verb can be understood in the past tense or in the past perfect tense; the correct translation depends on the context. This is another reason why St. Jerome's Vulgate translation (and the Douay Rheims literal translation of the Vulgate into English) is such a treasure. St. Jerome knew Hebrew, but he also knew the theological background for the text, so he used the ablative absolute "formatis" to make clear that the animals having been formed earlier on the fifth and sixth days of creation were presented to Adam by God on the sixth day, thus preserving the perfect harmony between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.
As the examples given in this and a previous newsletter demonstrate, the Council of Trent had good reason to declare the Vulgate of St. Jerome to be "authentic" and to decree that no one should "dare or presume under any pretext to reject it" (Council of Trent, Fourth Session, April 8, 1546). I hope that our friends all over the world will make use of this wonderful translation, either in an on-line or in a printed version.
With gratitude for your prayers and faithful support, I am
Yours in Christ through the Immaculata,
P.S. We will be giving quite a few seminars over the next two months, in Texas, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania, so please check the events section of the website for details and help to spread the word to anyone you know who might be able to attend one of these presentations.